‘Faster Than Light: Nomad’ Character Generation

Posted: 2024-05-20
Word Count: 880
Tags: character-generation ftl-nomad rpg

Table of Contents


Faster Than Light: Nomad is the latest title from Stellagama Games. It expands their Quantum Engine for space adventure without relying on Cepheus or Traveller Open Gaming Content.

Dice Mechanics

Like the vanilla Quantum Engine, FTL: Nomad uses only six-sided dice (D). The basic skill check is 2D + skill, 8 or more succeeds.

Instead of fiddly modifications to the die roll or target number, FTL:N uses “advantage” and “disadvantage” dice, rated also in ±nD. For example, if you have a net +1D on your die roll, you roll three dice and pick the highest two. If you have -2D on your check, you roll four dice and pick the lowest two. And so on.

Character Creation

To demonstrate character creation, I will create a sample character for a fairly run-of-the-mill space opera.

Here are the steps of character creation (FTL:N p 14):

  1. Develop a character concept. […]
  2. Distribute Skill Points: […]
  3. Pick an Archetype: […]
  4. Pick a Talent: […]
  5. Calculate Stamina: […]
  6. Calculate Encumbrance: […]
  7. Purchase Equipment: […]
  8. Finalize Your Character: Choose a name, appearance, and develop a personality for your character. Just a few sentences will do. It is also important to develop a motivation for why your character is no longer in their career and has instead chosen a life of dangerous adventuring. Finally, explain how your character knows one or more of the other player characters. Consult your Referee in case they already have something in mind.

Character Concept

Our sample character – we’ll call him Zeb – is a crusty old asteroid miner.

Let’s say that at one point in his life he struck it rich, and owned an entire small mining company. Unfortunately, a rival and some corrupt government officials conspired to bankrupt his company, so now he’s scrounging on the fringes of society, looking for payback against both his hated rival and the government that stripped away his fortune.

Skill Points

Humans1 have 5 points to distribute among the seven skills:

At character creation, no skill may have more than 3 points.

Zeb’s player chooses Combat +1, Technical +1, Stealth +1, Vehicles +2. Most of his expertise lies in technology and ships, but his hard life has taught him how to fight and how to break the law.

Note that, in FTL:N as in Quantum, Zeb’s +0 in Knowledge, Physical, and Social means he’s still competent in those areas, just not as competent as in his chosen skills.


Archetypes grant some ability, usually an Advantage, based on the character’s core concept. FTL:N lists twelve Archetypes, but creating a new one isn’t that difficult.

At his core Zeb’s a Roughneck, a working stiff in space. To quote the rules,

Roughnecks gain +1D when performing repairs, moving in zero-G conditions, or operating heavy machinery.


Human1 characters also get a Talent, an ability in a specific area. The rules list 21 Combat Talents, 20 Character Talents, and 26 Professional Talents.

From his prior life, Zeb became a gifted Drone Operator:

Drone Operator: Whether a hard-working asteroid miner, a canny salvager, or a combat photographer, this character is a gifted drone operator. They gain +1D whenever they need to perform difficult tasks remotely with drones or other remotely controlled robots.


Stamina is equal to 14 + 3×Physical. This is the amount of damage a character can take before they take a Wound and (usually) are out of combat.

Zeb has 14 Stamina.


Characters can carry up to 10 + 2×Physical items without suffering any penalties.

Zeb can carry 10 items.


Selecting Equipment can be the most tedious part of character creation. Fortunately p 25 of the rules provides pre-selected equipment for each Archetype. I’ll just copy the list for Roughneck:

Final Steps

This is where you detail a character’s name, appearance, backstory, and personality.

Let’s give Zeb the full name of Zebediah Clement. He’s 43 years old but looks older, with graying hair and a lined, craggy face. I went a bit into Zeb’s biography character-above. His experiences have made him distrustful, antiestablishment, and quick to bear a grudge.


And there you have it, a full character in only about 10 or 15 minutes.

Name: Zebediah (“Zeb”) Clement

Age: 43

Species: Human

Archetype: Roughneck

Combat Knowledge Physical Social Stealth Technical Vehicles
+1 0 0 0 +1 +1 +2

Talents: Drone Operator

Stamina: 14

Encumbrance: 10

Equipment: AntiRad (1 dose), Backpack, Breather Mask, Envirosuit (4 Protection), Gyrojet Pistol (2d6+2, 2 reloads), LED Flashlight, Medkit, OmniComm, Omnicomp, OmniTool

Credits: 3845

  1. Aliens have only 4 skill points to spend, and no talent. However, aliens typically have some special ability that would otherwise make them stronger than a typical human. ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. In the text this was listed out of alphabetical order. I suspect this used to be Space from Quantum Starfarer↩︎